In March of 2015, Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) announced its first Dash buttons and other products that fall under the general heading of the Internet of Things (IoT). Since then, the number of Dash buttons available to Amazon Prime members has grown to more than 200. The buttons allow Prime members to order a specified product in a specified quantity and is particularly useful for items that need regular replenishment. Think detergent, bathroom tissue and diapers.
Each available product has its own Dash button and consumers pay $4.99 for the device, which Amazon then credits back on the first order. Each button arrives with a pre-programmed selection of items consumers may order. For example, the Dash button for Tide detergent (one of the hottest sellers, by the way), offers several choices from among the variety of sizes and types (powder, pods) of detergent you might find in your neighborhood supermarket.
Dash buttons need to be paired with the Amazon app on a smartphone using Bluetooth. Now, once you’ve selected what kind of Tide detergent you want to order, you can stick the button on or near your washing machine. When you want to reorder, just push the button. As a Prime member already, delivery of your new load of detergent will arrive in two days.
And to keep the kids from pushing the button a zillion times and ordering a traincar-load of something, the Dash button does not accept a new order until the first one has been delivered.
Amazon announced Tuesday that it has added more than 60 new Dash buttons for a range of products: Bai, Cheez-It, Folgers, Fresh Kitty, Meow Mix, Milk Bone, PoopBags, Pop-Tarts, Powerade, PURELL Hand Sanitizing Wipes, ZonePerfect and many others.
The company also said that orders from Dash buttons have increased fivefold in the past year.
Dash buttons are available in Austria, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Amazon also sells a user-programmable Dash button called the AWS IoT button for $19.95. Customers (most likely software developers) can program this device to control other Internet-connected devices, such as light switches and garage doors.